Living with IBD & IBS

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Excerpt from the Introduction of:

Living with IBD & IBS: A Personal Journey of Success

 

I decided to write this book for the many other people who have been or will be diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) so that they can know there is life––perhaps even a better life––after receiving one or both of these diagnoses. When I was first able to put a name to my illness I was scared, I was frustrated and I was angry. I read everything I could lay my hands on about both IBD and IBS––which, at the time, wasn't anywhere near as much information as is available today. While I found a number of books and information on internet websites that gave me a lot of medical and technical information about IBD, I found very little practical or useful day-to-day coping information. I wished I could find other people who might understand me from the human side, rather than the medical side of my disease. I longed to find someone with whom I could commiserate, someone who could know how I felt not only physically but emotionally as well. And while my husband, friends and family lent their sympathy and understanding, they just couldn't understand the illness I was learning to live with.So, this book is written for the millions of people worldwide who live with all forms of IBD and IBS every day. My hope is that you will find hope in my successes, reality in my distresses, and tips and information that will spur you on to living as full and contented a life as possible despite your illness.           
This book is about . . .
 . . . Getting past the denial, anger and humiliation that can accompany a diagnosis of IBD or IBS.
. . . Facing the fears about the physical symptoms of IBD and IBS.
. . . Providing ideas that may help you adjust your lifestyle to living with IBD and IBS.
. . . Helping your family and friends adjust to the new you.
. . . Using alternative “tools” to forge your new life––from altering your diet to homeopathy to practicing Reiki and meditation.
. . . Living positively and fully with a chronic illness like IBD or IBS.     

    

copyright Elizabeth Roberts 2006


At the end of each chapter Roberts provides a helpful

"Tips & Information" section . . .  

                                                                

                                               Chapter 8

                                       Tips and Information

w   Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder of the intestine and is generally diagnosed by an absence of symptoms. It is a real, physical disorder. 

w   IBS symptoms affect up to 55 million Americans, 80% of those being women. 

w   IBS is only second to the common cold as being the most frequent cause of absenteeism from work and school. 

w   Stress and emotions can be a catalyst for IBS symptoms but they are not the cause of IBS, and IBS is not in your head 

w   Helpful websites that provide information about the diagnosis and treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) include:     

                                        - ibscrohns.about.com          
                                        - IBS Self Help Group––www.ibsgroup.org       
                                        - Irritable Bowel Syndrome Association––www.ibsassociation.org 
  w   Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Dr. James Balch and Phyllis Balch 
           

copyright Elizabeth Roberts 2006

Chapter 5 Excerpt. . .

Living with IBD & IBS: A Personal Journey of Success

 

My new daily regimen included taking one tablespoon of Metamucil each morning, six Asacol tablets daily, one Flintstones chewable vitamin with lunch, and one can of Ensure to supplement my bland, boring and vitamin-lacking diet. I made I stayed away from all of the foods that were on my “don't eat” list from my elimination diet. Even with all of these changes, my energy level remained low while my number of daily bathroom visits remained high. My enthusiasm for life was dwindling along with my energy. I was so afraid of not being near enough to a bathroom or altogether just losing control of my bowels in public that I had pretty much imprisoned myself at home. Some friends wondered why I didn’t just wear an adult diaper and get on with life. The simple answer was I wasn’t ready to admit defeat. And to me, that’s what the adult diaper meant––the diarrhea would win and I would lose. I wasn’t fond of losing.

 

copyright Elizabeth Roberts 2006

 

Chapter 12 Excerpt. . . 

Living with IBD & IBS: A Personal Journey of Success

 

In the beginning stages of my disease, when I was at my most depressed, I could see no way back to my old life and being “normal.” Even though it's hard for me to admit now, I had even contemplated suicide once or twice. Thankfully I hadn't had the guts to act on those feelings. For as frustrating and debilitating as it can sometimes be, I’ve come to realize that colitis and its associated symptoms are not worth losing one's life over. My future seemed bleak and hopeless at the beginning of my illness. Fortunately, I had a patient husband, some great doctors, friends, family and even a few strangers to help me along the way. With a lot of hard work, patience and determination to overcome my illness, I have since realized that what I was experiencing was simply one of life's roadblocks. IBD and IBS are not fatal. I remind myself of this fact nearly every day. Some days, those of us who have these problems, might wish they were fatal. However, while I have realized that my disease is something that is a continual challenge, I now know that neither IBD nor IBS have full control over me.  Had I been given the choice whether to have colitis or not, of course I would have chosen not to have it. However, like so many other people who are learning to live with their disease, whatever it may be, I was not given a choice about whether to have, or not to have IBD or IBS. The choice I was given, however, was whether I would let either of these take control over my life, or whether I would take control of it. I am glad that I opted to learn how to take control and worked through my depression, my frustration, my anger and my fear.

I now have many more symptom-free days than I had in the first few years of living with my disease. I am also now able to maintain a relatively constant weight somewhere between 115 and 118 pounds. But, I also still have “bad stomach days” that can cause my weight to plummet by one, five, even ten pounds in certain instances. Instead of fear now being my first reaction to a “bad stomach day,” oftentimes frustration creeps in instead. Frustration at having my life interrupted. 

 

copyright Elizabeth Roberts 2006